Friday, April 30, 2010
Well, we all knew the time would come, and here it is! Xena is going to a new home in Maryland with a wonderful family who will take excellent care of her and will love her dearly! Thank you all for your support of Xena. She is a lucky girl to have a second chance at a forever home, and I am confident she will have only happy days to come.
It is a bitter sweet day for me, because I am thrilled with her new home and deeply joyed that I know she is going to such a wonderful family, but at the same time, I have grown to love Xena and I will truly miss her.
Best of luck, Xena! Lucy, Jay and I will all miss you dearly!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Xena is feeling great! She is back to her old self, playing with toys, wagging her tail and walking back and forth between your legs. She now lifts her head/neck as she goes under and a few times; she's actually lifted me off the ground! But then I turn around and pick up her front legs and dance with her. She has taken a liking to many of Lucy's toys. Xena loves the small fuzzy squeaky toys. I've never seen a large dog play with them without ripping them, but Xena is a gentle girl. She takes them up in her mouth, stands up and throws them in the air and tries to catch them. She almost always misses. She will not be a contender for the blue man group, but she is still our sweetheart :) She also likes larger teddy bears.
While Xena was sick, I was supposed to keep her and Lucy apart, but that was very difficult! Lucy KEPT going right over to Xena and laying right next to her, at times shoving her nose under Xena's belly for warmth. Now, Lucy is a not a social dog... she is very fearful of dogs. However, you can see that even a scared chihuahua can warm up to Xena! If your dog is shy, I'm sure in some time they will be close friends, just like Xena and Lucy are now!
Last night Xena went off-leash in Central Park. There were many dogs off-leash (and just as many on-leash) and I was ready to see how Xena did. A few times I have taken her off leash in a non-fenced in area, and she walked right next to me. However, this was different because there were sooo many dogs around. Xena went up to many of them and sniffed them. She is quite fearful of dogs (and cats too) who are too interested in her. But for the average dog, she is happy to bend down and sniff for awhile. She did wander off a bit, but responded to "Xena, come" or just followed me if I walked away. She did take a liking to a few of the people who were carrying fanny packs filled with treats. I got the sense she was bothering them so I had to leash her for a bit. She kept shoving her nose in their fanny packs and sitting and looking at them intently. But, once we walked away from there, I didn't need to worry about her running back to the people with the treats. She does love her food, but I think she's more loyal to her people :)
Friday, April 16, 2010
So Xena had a rough few days. She had a tummy bug and wasn't feeling too great. She's been resting it off and is feeling much better, on a prescription diet from the vet for the next few days and some antibiotic. So far, she seems like she's feeling much better! Not much to report... I've been keeping her indoors a lot and letting her sleep this thing off. I did take her for a calm stroll through central park today though. She's very tired though and needs her rest. What to expect from Xena if she is ill: She will cry to let you know she's in pain or in this case, has a stomach ache and needs to go out. She will sleep more than she usually does and will have no interest in drinking water (which is highly unusual for her... usually she gulps down as much as you give her!) and won't try to eat all food in sight (also unusual for her). She has not shown any interest in playing with toys, but she lets you lay down next to her and gently rub her back and legs, kiss her head and talk to her. When you leave her alone (and this goes for even when she is not under the weather) she prefers to have the TV on if you'll be gone for awhile. I think she likes the noise. I've used the tv to calm Xena down when she first arrived at my apartment and was having difficulty settling in the first few hours. Maybe she was used to the sound of the TV in her old house. Anyway, she is doing much better now and hopefully she will be back to her old fun self shortly.
Monday, April 12, 2010
As you can see, the girls are getting along very well. The picture on the left is of a substitute dog walker who met Xena for the first time. You can see, Xena had no difficulty walking along side him. She is perfectly fine towards strangers... you don't have to worry about her being scared or nervous. It's dogs she is picky about!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
What a great weekend with Xena! This weekend, we went to lunch together outdoors. I didn't even need to hold her leash. She took a snooze by my side in the sun and paid no attention to the food and people all around her.
Then we went on a very long walk around the upper west side apartment hunting. Whenever she is in a new place, she does the same routine... it's a bit of restlessness I think. She basically walks around and around the new space, smells everything, sits down, gets back up right away and continues to walk around. It takes some affirmative action on my part to get her to calm down, but once she does she is good to return to that space without the same anxiety.
Took Xena to Central Park. She loves it there!! Xena napped (she's such a napper!) in the sun in the park and got up a few times to look around. I did not have to worry about her trying to run away/wandering into the road or anything like that. She seemed to be able to block out the bikers, kids, dogs and all the like.
When I got home with Xena, she began her new "play" routine. This involves taking stuffed animals and throwing them around the room. She does this by picking them up with her mouth, shaking her head dramatically back and forth, and then finally letting go, as the stuffed animal flies across the room. It's quite funny!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
So, for the past few days it has been raining. Xena took the opportunity to get in some rest. She does not like the rain! She will go out and quickly do her business with your urging, but she does not want to walk around in the rain. This is actually a good thing, because for most of us, we don't want to walk around in the rain either! And what's even better, Miss Xena didn't become restless not having much exercise for a few days. She became a bit of a couch potato and thoroughly enjoyed her naps.
I took Xena to get groomed and from what I hear, she did just fine. In fact, all the groomers took a fondness to her! While all their other dogs needed to be caged until their owners picked them up, they allowed Xena to wander around and nap in different parts of the rooms. She is a very trustworthy dog!
I had to go to a passover seder last night and the night before. The first night, I thought I would leave her alone since it was at my family's house and I knew I could bail early. She was alone for 6 hours or so and was just fine. Happy to see me when I arrived home. She does this cute thing whenever I come home now... She walks quickly towards me, her tail wagging all up in the air, and then she walks right through my legs, pushing them open, and then turns around, walks right through my legs again. I usually lean down to see where she is going and then when she walks through my legs from back to front she jumps up a tiny bit and licks me. It's absolutely adorable! The second night of passover, my friend came to watch her and Lucy. Xena had never met him before, but she was okay with a "stranger" coming into the apartment. She is not territorial and almost never barks! She really is quite the catch!
Xena is a bit nervous with stairs. This has gotten much better though! I think she may just fear new places or something. Once she feels comfortable somewhere, she seems to forget there are stairs there and walks right up/down them.
The girls are napping now (Xena and my chihuahua) but I'm about to wake them up and take them for a walk since it finally stopped raining! More to report later!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
This was a fun weekend! We went apartment hunting together yesterday and encountered many dogs. Xena seems to be frightened/nervous around dogs who are interested in her, or show any interest. She tucks her tail and tries to get away... it's kind of sad, but I think she's just not used to socialization. She's better around smaller dogs. In the picture above, we bumped into another Rhodesian. Xena really wanted to get away from him, but after she realized he wasn't going to hurt her, she was able to sit patiently and wait for me to finish shmoozing.
Today we went to Westchester to my family's house. Xena definitely will need an owner who will be understanding that she is nervous in new places and with new people. She had not met my family before and had never been to the house. She walked around the entire house, smelling everything. She will not jump on on anything and will not take a seat on the couch without you offering it to her, but she takes awhile to settle down and relax. My father tried to give her some treats, which she was happy to take, but it seemed to excite her more. I had to leash her, put out a familiar blanket for her to lay on, and then she finally relaxed and laid down. She was great for the rest of the visit.
I thought, since my family has a large venced in yard, that Xena might want to play fetch with a tennis ball. She wasn't too into the idea... but I think it was because she was freaked out since she just left her family of 9 years last weekend, and has been with two foster parents in the past week... taking her to more new places might not have been the best idea, but given her week, she did wonderfully.
When we got back to the apt, Xena was sooo happy to be back! She knew exactly where the apartment was and wagged her tail all the way down the block until we arrived. Then, she was ready to play! I actually don't have much experience with large breeds, so I wasn't sure how to handle it. She was crouching her back and wagging her tail leaning over... she picked up one of Lucy's (my chihuahua) toys and threw it back and forth. This was the most playful I have seen her! Now, she is resting on my couch.
Xena does not go for people food. She lets you eat peacefully, no begging, no attempting to get at the food... she just looks, but doesn't get up from whatever position she's in.
That's all for now!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Xena is a beautiful 9 year old Ridgeback. Her family had to give her up due to having twins that are allergic.
I picked Xena up Monday night from Jeff's apartment, and she perked up and even gave me a spare lick! We drove to my apartment uptown, and she entered the doggy kingdom. There were three chihuahuas running around my apartment (including mine, Lucy) and Xena walked around, sniffed a couple of buts, and then plopped down on her dog bed. Of course, as you can see form the pictures, she later decided the couch was more comfortable!
These past few days have been great with her. She sleeps right through the night, wakes up when you get up, and is ready to eat! Boy, this chica loves her food! She tried to go after Lucy's food, (the grass is always greener...) and responded to my "Xena, No" voice. I wonder why that doesn't work with my boyfriend... or my appetite... yikes!
Xena is a big follower. She attempts to come with me everywhere, in the shower, from bedroom to kitchen to living room, etc. But, I did swing by Magnolia Bakery today with her (that damn appetite again!) and Xena was happy to wait for me outside while I shoved cake down my throat and pretended I'm not obese. Right.
We walked for a good two hours today. She walks at a medium pace, stops every now and then to squeeze a few drops of pee out (I keep telling her she has nothing left!) and struts her stuff. She does not pull on the lead at all.
Xena isn't a huge fan of the dog run. I took her twice. She seemed to get kind of overwhelmed and just stood there. I'll try again later; maybe she's just nervous being that she just left her dad of 9 years, or maybe I am rubbing off on her and she wants to get home quick to watch Eva Longoria on Desperate Housewives and pretend I'm that pretty.
On our long walk today, we went on a bit of window shopping... it seems wherever we go, Xena gets treats! (I wish that happened with me) So anyway, she is out right now... in total sleep mode.
That's all for now! More updates later!
Monday, March 8, 2010
Simba was brought to Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue last night by his previous owner, Craig. Craig and his family rescued Simba from a very scary previous situation, but due to their current dog and time constraints, didn't have time for a new puppy.
Simba's first owner got him to be a "warehouse dog". He was left tied to a dumpster at an old warehouse day and night, seven days a week. Craig stepped in after seeing this and offered to buy the dog from the previous owners. They declined, but a day or two later came over and gave him the dog.
Simba was boarded for two weeks for observation and training. After that, Craig and his family had Simba for a few months, but decided it would be best for Simba to find a family that has the time and energy for a new young dog.
He definitely has all the energy that you can expect from a young hound mix (he's a bit over a year old), but knows basic commands that are helpful. He sits before eating, can shake hands (paws), and even comes when you call. He still plays a little rough, as puppies do, but that could go away quickly with training. He's crate trained, so I have started using that as his "time-out".
He's very curious, and is good with new people and dogs. We spent a good hour and a half walking and playing in the dog park at Tompkins Square this morning, and other then his excitement over squirrels and birds, it was a great morning. While he is normally very peppy and playful, he went into a very safe submissive state with the other dogs. No aggression whatsoever.
Simba is a FANTASTIC dog, I'm sure we will find a home for him really soon.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Thanks everyone for keeping up and reading this blog. Keep checking back for Lacey updates and more. I should be getting another foster case soon!
Monday, March 1, 2010
My mother was kind enough to let me know that I am a slacker and I have been neglecting my blog/sharing my days with Lacey with you (with her). So, after a two day absence, here we go!
Lacey is becoming a better and more secure dog everyday. She is feeling much better this week, and we have been enjoying a lot of playtime. She has taken a liking to her rawhide bone as well as her "wubba" (a toy made by Kong) & because of this, we have gotten the fetch thing down pretty well. I honestly think I have more fun playing fetch than she does...
She's really been enjoying the snow over the past week. Not only does she get to her "business" faster, but she also likes to jump around and play. It's really nice when she gets into a play-mode outside, since she is normally in fear-mode. I've been walking her with the gentle leader collar and dual looped leash to start teaching her not to pull and to stay behind me. Its been three days and she's really starting to respond. She doesn't like walking down the stairs with the leader on, but thats understandable, so I've started putting on the harness when we get downstairs.
After Lacey got sick last week, I decided to implement a "no laying on the furniture" rule. I was a slack foster dad for the first week as I pretty much let her relax wherever she wanted to. On Friday I started telling her "no" and making her lay on the floor next to me or would make her go to her crate to rest. If you are wondering about her progress, she's lying at my feet right now while I type this on the couch. (And I didn't even tell her to)
From the beginning of this blog I have suggested that Lacey is a really sweet dog. I am finding that the more that we break through her fear-based issues, the more I am finding her to be a very smart dog. All of Lacey's issues lie with trust and fear. She is comfortable enough in my apartment now that she can be herself. I have even started inviting friends over to meet her, and other than one time with my friend Eric, she has come out of her crate and greeted them/smothered them with love after about 5 minutes. Once she works past the outside issues, she's going to be a really happy dog.
Friday, February 26, 2010
We played for about 45 minutes, but as my hands and feet were freezing (and i imagine her paws were too), we headed inside.
A quick dry-off session followed by Lacey's breakfast then led to what is (I hope) becoming a routine. We played fetch again. I'm pretty sure my downstairs neighbor hates me now, but really, I'm okay with that. She's very good & never fights about giving up her toy. I almost think she's part retriever!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
So, other then that... The walk tonight, while snow covered was really easy. She really has fun in the slush and snow. Also, she really liked being dried off when she gets back inside. She was rolling over and having a really good time :)
Yeah... So pardon my goofy dog voice, but I was excited. Enjoy the video!
The biggest jump in progress that Lacey has made has been in the home. She's progressively more playful, and I've really been enjoying that. This morning we even had a nice little wrestling match (I won of course) She's also getting way more comfortable in the space. She like's her crate as a home base, but is feeling much more comfortable just walking around. She's a smart girl and if you give her boundaries, she will stay within them.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Thanks for checking in, we'll be back in action soon!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Miss Lacey and I are really getting a chance to get to know each other this weekend. I've had to work all week, so this is the first day that I have been able to relax with her at home for most of the day.
She and I had a nice long walk around the East Village of NYC this morning. It's the longest walk we have taken, and Lacey handled it very well. She stopped once or twice due to loud noises, but as long as I didn't react, and kept up the forward momentum, she kept moving.
We got back to the apartment around 11AM, later than I had wanted, because Lacey still needed to eat. She's really liking the food I'm giving her now. Dry food, with one scoop of wet mixed in. She has been eating like a champ the last two days. I couldn't be more proud of her.
Friday, February 19, 2010
She, for the second day, came right out of her crate when I got home and was happy to see me. Tail wagging.
We had two walks this evening. One, with the Gentle Leader and one with the slip lead. She did well on both walks. She took very well to the gentle leader, but I'm not sure if it really made that much difference yet. Granted, it takes more than one try to train a dog.
She's reacting better on the walks in general. Staying with me, and not pulling quite so much. I can keep her at my heel about 80 percent of the time with very little effort. However, I am finding that she does like her specific route that we have been taking. I tried to mix it up this evening and go down a different street... she wasn't too keen on the idea. We're going to try some longer walks this weekend, maybe to the park, so hopefully we can get past that block. (pun intended?)
Well, as you can tell by the picture, she's a real sweetheart.
Bed time for us now. She's busy snoring and kicking me and well, I need to catch up.
After we woke up, Lacey watched me from the bed while I got ready. The moment I pulled out her leash, she was up, tail wagging, spinning in circles at my feet. This was the most excited I have ever seen this little girl get! I sat down on the couch and she came right over and let me slip on her lead. Out the door and down the stairs she goes! No hesitation at all. I even had to stop because I dropped my keys, but it didn't even phase her.
We went on a nice hour-long walk around the Lower East Side this morning. She's still pulling, but I think that that is fear based. When she gets a little overwhelmed, she speeds up to try to get out of there as quickly as possible.
Right now I am using a slip leash to walk Miss Lacey. Its similar to a choke collar, but is made of fabric, slips over her neck, and tightens if she pulls too hard. I have found these types of leashes/collars to be difficult with Rhodesians. Rhodesians tend to have long necks (plus they are tall), and it is very difficult to keep the leash stationed at the base of their heads. Therefore, completely taking away our ability to lead the dog.
In a simliar story, a harness called "The Gentle Leader" helped fix this problem with Oritte's dog. Oritte had tried choke collars, regular collars, slip collars, and even the pronged collars (ew). Gemma, mind you, is a 90+ pound, six-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback female, and if she decides where the walk is going, not only will you go where she wants, but you will end up at the pet store every time. (She's sly like that). In an amazing turn of events, Gemma took to the "Leader" right away and her walks became so much easier.
Back to the apartment. Stairs, no issue. Food, she gobbled it right up. She's still playing peek-a-boo while I shower, but afterward she just sits on my bed waiting for me to get ready.
Today was the first day that Lacey responded to a command. I told her to come off the bed (she did), and then I motioned for her to "get in your crate" (she did, and laid down right away)
Leaving for work didn't hurt at much as the past few days. Lacey seems to be much more at ease. She's a good girl.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I have to say that this dog is surprising me left and right.
I came home for lunch today and she didn't react as well as I was hoping. She was curled up and shaking as if she didn't know me. Not only that, but she hadn't touched her food at all. I decided to cut the visit short, and head back to work, but also decided to leave on a classic rock radio station for a little ambient noise (How could you love a dog that doesn't know/love Led Zeppelin??) and perhaps the occasional pleasing human voice. Needless to say I left my apartment feeling a little bit crushed.
Much to my surprise, when I got home later, Lacey came right out her crate and said hello to me! Kisses and all! Where has this dog been all along?? On top of that, she ate her food right away! To be fair, I cheated and added a scoop of wet food, but come on! She loved it!
I fixed myself a little dinner (rotisserie chicken and veggies) and sat down on the couch to eat. She hopped up to sit next to me, but didn't beg or try to take my food. Not even once. It was pretty incredible. Every dog I've ever known has been quite the food hog. This is refreshing.
Surprise number two, and I don't wanna jinks myself (or her) but Miss Lacey has pretty much overcome her fear of the stairs. She went straight down, no hesitation at all. It was beautiful. I'm so proud.
Well, we are going to have early evening as I am not feeling 100%. Lacey, on the other hand, is inching toward that line.
We had another good/easy night. She has no problem sleeping through the night. I'm finding she is quite the cuddler and really likes human contact. If she is near me, she likes to be touching me. (Yes, we were spooning again)
So 7:30 this morning we are getting ready for our morning run/walk and this is the first time I have seen Lacey actually get excited and start wagging her tail. I immediately tried to take advantage of that energy and we headed out the door.
The first set of stairs was no problem, but Lacey got a little scared for the second set. Worried that we were going to make no progress this morning, I sat down on the stairs to let Lacey work through her fear and potentially move forward on her own accord. After 5-10 minutes I decided to get up and try to get some momentum going. I started walking back upstairs and she started to follow. FAKE AND REDIRECT THE PUP!! I turned around and took the momentum we gained to go downstairs. After the second set, I made sure she was near the wall and not the railings, and she had no problem. Five flights later, we were outside and she was ready to run!
She's a very strong dog and tends to start each walk with the intention of walking me. She's a puller, but I have found that if I run her for 5-10 minutes right away, she calms down and will walk comfortably with me. After our starter jog, I took her into the park for a run in the snow. She quickly went 1 & 2 and then decide to run around a little more. I would love to see this girl in a yard. I think if she had space that she knew was hers, she would run all over the place. This little girl loves the outdoors almost as she loves sleeping on my bed.
Lacey has yet to eat in front of me. She seems to like when I pull out the bag of food, but doesn't react once it is prepared. This comes as a BIG shock to me as my previous Ridgeback experience made me think that RR's were VERY food driven. My dog-pal Gemma, Oritte's monkey Ridgeback, would be on her food dish so fast that she would take off a hand if you weren't paying attention. The plus side is that Lacey IS eating. She just does it on her own time.
Leaving for work today was hard. Lacey was trying to convince me to snuggle on the couch with her. I politely declined and told her we are going to hang out this evening. Needless to say, we are both looking forward to it.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Once we got outside, we had a fantastic run around the park in the snow (shes a fan). She's a very easy dog to run with, though, she did try to trip me a few times. We also made it back in and up the stairs and to my apartment with no problems for the second time today.
Well, time for us to veg out on the couch and watch the latest episode of LOST.
Today, I think, was a really good day for Miss Lacey.
Another positive note is, while skittish, she's becoming pretty loving. I sat down in the floor and she walked over and sat in my lap. She then turned around and gave me a few nice kisses.
She's still not wild about her food. She did eat while i was gone today, but when I got ready to feed her her evening meal, she turned her nose up at it. We'll give it another couple days. As long as she does eat, I wont be worried.
I know this is going to be a long road to a completely "comfortable dog," but she's well on her way. Over the next weeks I plan on slowly introducing her to my friends to get her more comfortable with new people. If all goes well, I may even introduce her to a couple Ridgeback friends I have. :)
Well, we are off to attempt the stairs again so we can go on a walk.
Wish us luck!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I was contacted about Lacey about a week ago. She was a shy & scared Rhodesian Ridgeback mix that was sitting at a kill shelter in Long Island, and was on the short list to be euthanized. The Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue had found her several weeks prior, but right as they were about to rescue her, she was adopted by a small family in LI. Cut to two weeks later, the family decided to return her because "She's scared of my husband and she peed on our new couch."
Needless to say, Lacey was brought into the city from the Islip Animal Shelter last night. She refused to get out of the car, but once we got her out, she took me for a walk. We managed to get her to my apartment, but she didn't really like the stairs. She had no problem walking up them, but it seemed that because she didn't know her surroundings, and didn't really trust yet, she wasn't prepared to go up them.
Once we got into my apartment, she did a quick look around and then settled on the rug in the kitchen. Denise and I sat with her in the kitchen for 30 minutes or so. Lacey drank two bowls of water, and ate a half a cup of food.
Oritte came over and Lacey took to her immediately. I think there is no question that Lacey prefers women. She laid down in Orittes lap almost immediately and actually fell asleep. (snoring)
I managed to get Lacey onto the bed and she has completely taken over the space. This dog is a love, and just needs some time and stability.